Loyalties collide with long-buried love, a man builds a nuclear bomb in his garage, and children walk up walls. The stories in What You Need beautifully recount the rawness of human experience. Andrew Forbes’s characters struggle to escape the things that hold them in their all-too-ordinary lives, falling victim to fate, to one another, and to self-sabotage. These are stories about failure and yearning, yet they remind us of the humour and humanity in even the worst decision.
Andrew Forbes is the author of the story collections Lands and Forests (Invisible Publishing, 2019) and What You Need (2015), which was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and named a finalist for the Trillium Book Prize. He is also the author of The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays (2016) and The Only Way Is the Steady Way: Essays on Baseball, Ichiro, and How We Watch the Game (2021). Forbes lives in Peterborough, Ontario.
“What You Need is an excellent book, and arguably the debut of the year insofar as short fiction is concerned. Every character is fully realized and three-dimensional; every story sparkles with granular detail and the kind of profound emotional insight that only comes with having lived the difficult passage between the expectations of youth and the ambiguities of adulthood. The book is full of wit, and, despite its subject matter, laugh-out-loud funny in places.” – The Fiddlehead
“Forbes’s greatest success is in taking the high tragedy out of traditionally masculine narratives. His best stories elicit a sense of loss—not for unfulfilled archetypes, but for people who could have contributed to society in a more meaningful and responsible way if they had relinquished outmoded definitions of manhood, such as the athlete, the suburban dad, the protector, and the honourable suicide.” – The Puritan
“These stories are well worth hearing.” – The Book Stylist
“At turns funny, inventive, thoughtful and sad, What You Need is an unassuming, surprisingly moving first book of short fiction, striking for the poise and authority of its language and the depth of its insights.” – Pasha Malla, author of The Withdrawal Method
“Tough, tender, visceral lyricism is always balanced with an ironic warmth, humour, and just enough hope in What You Need.” – Richard Taylor, author of House Inside the Waves
“What You Need is compelling reading.” – The Globe & Mail, “Three fiction debuts worth a read”
“What You Need is a strong collection that leaves its reader wanting more.” – Quill & Quire